Joy is a Spiritual fruit, Happiness is a Choice

 

1 Timothy 6:6

But godliness with contentment is great gain.

              

               Isaiah 12:3 says, “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”  The thing I have experienced through my life is that when I am walking the closest in fellowship and relationship with the Lord is when I experience the greatest joy in life.  Since joy is a spiritual attribute and fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23, it only makes sense that as we walk in the Spirit and feed off of the fullness and goodness of God we are going to experience the joy and contentment of the Lord.  The thing about the joy of the Lord is that it isn’t dependent up the circumstances around us.  There can be great storms raging in our lives, but yet joy and peace can remain in our hearts when our eyes are fixed on Christ and upon the promises of His Word.  When we walk in the Spirit we see things and life from a God perspective.  If it pleases the Lord, it pleases us.  It is no longer about all of my needs and my wants being fulfilled.  This is where a lot of people confuse joy and happiness.  If happiness is reliant upon our feelings then it is going to be an elusive experience.  It will be here one minute and gone the next.  Why, because our feelings are up and down.  It rides the roller coaster of our emotions.  The feelings of happiness are circumstantial.  They are based again a lot on self: self-contentment, self-fulfillment, self-gratification, but not on self-control. 

               Here is an example many of us can relate with: Why do I have an unhappy marriage?  He or she doesn’t meet my needs.  They only think about themselves.  They don’t care if I am happy or fulfilled.  They don’t provide enough.  They don’t give enough.  They don’t do enough.  What is the central theme you hear in all of these phrases?  You don’t make me happy and what makes you happy for a short time is going to change to feelings of unhappiness and discontentment the moment your expectations aren’t met.  Happiness has to be a choice that you make that isn’t dependent upon what someone else does or doesn’t do.  I read this morning where marriages are more successful with people who go into marriage as already happy people rather than those who go into marriage looking for happiness.  Don’t put the responsibility for your happiness upon someone else.  That is your responsibility.  Otherwise you are always going to be disappointed and hurt.  People can never give you what only God can give you and that is joy and contentment. 

               Our verse today is so powerful because it is short but it says so much, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”  It simply says we have made a decision that God is enough.  What ever He supplies and provides in my life is enough.  That may be much or that may be little, but as long as I have God that is enough.  The apostle Paul made the statement in Philippians 4:11-13, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  Paul didn’t have his eyes on people to meet his needs.  Many of the churches didn’t help him financially or support him.  He could have gotten bitter or angry or upset with them, but he didn’t.  They weren’t his source and his supply, God was.  He had learned to be content with whatever God brought into his life because he had this revelation; “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  Who is your strength today?  Who is your supply?  Who is your joy and contentment?  Maybe anger, bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness have come in to make you so miserable because you have been looking to others to meet your needs and they have disappointed you. Let us learn what Paul did, that the Lord is enough.  We can make the decision that we are going to be happy because God is enough rather in much or little, rather we are abased or abound, rather we are full or we are hungry.   In order to experience the fullness of joy in our salvation we must take our eyes off of us and let Christ become the focus of why we live.  We live to serve not to be served.  We live to give and not to take.  We live that in all things we may please Him who has given us life.  “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).”  Experience the joy of your salvation by walking in the Spirit and make the choice to be happy because of the One that resides within you.

Blessings,

#kent

We, the Lame

July 22, 2015

We, the Lame

Hebrew 12:13
And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.

Have you ever had a broken leg, a dislocated joint or wrenched knee or ankle? When you find yourself in this condition, you find that walking normally is out of the question. There is too much pain and tenderness to walk in a normal way. This is the way we are when we get out of joint in our walk with the Lord. Our spiritual health and harmony are interrupted and our walk with Him becomes crippled and distorted.
I think many of us have areas in our lives where we experience some lameness; an area that is out of joint with God’s will and purpose for our lives. The Lord doesn’t want us to walk in a crooked and twisted path, but in a straight and narrow one. It is like Jesus says in Matthew 7:14, “Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” I would venture to say that most of us have found ourselves off of that straight and narrow more times than we would like to admit. How wonderful that through repentance and the power of the blood of Jesus we have a means to be restored to the path of righteousness.
It is sin that cripples us and makes us lame. It is sin that distorts our spiritual health and wholeness. There are many that are still struggling with strongholds of sin in their lives. While they feel condemned and defeated, they can’t seem to get delivered and free from it. We often make the mistake of judging others in an area of weakness while we may have another area in us that is just as bad. We are all creatures of God’s grace and mercy. We didn’t find our way to Him because our works were righteous and we were so much better than everyone else. Like everyone else, we are sinners saved by the grace of God. That same faith with which we embraced Christ when we first gave our hearts to Him is what we must now exercise as we make straight paths for our feet.
There is something wrong with us as a body of Christ when we are more concerned about judging one another for our faults than we are with ministering to one another in our weaknesses. What does James 5:16 say? “Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” We all have weaknesses and faults that we have not fully gained the victory over or that we are still struggling with. Where are our ministry, compassion and prayers for one another in our weaknesses? We desperately try and conceal our faults and weaknesses, either because we are in denial or just think it is our problem, but more likely because we don’t have a safe place where we can expose and share the sins with which we struggle. Jesus says it is not the well that need a physician, but the sick. The Christ in each one of us is the physician that wants to minister help and healing to those around us. We need each other to help each other. Our sin would always cripple us and dislocate us from the Lord, but the Lord wants to heal our lameness and restore us in a path of righteousness for His namesake. The Lord doesn’t want us to justify and cover over our sin, that would be hypocrisy, but He does want to see us healed in the areas of our sin sickness.
We want to see Isaiah 35 come to pass in each one of our lives, “The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. 3 Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; 4 say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” 5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. 7 The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. 8 And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it. 9 No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there, 10 and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
The Lord is on the side of our restoration and wholeness, but it takes our willingness to forsake our sin. Perhaps we need to seek out those who will stand with us and help us to lay hold of our victory and healing in the areas where sin has held us captive and crippled our walk. We are a body and we must minister to one another’s needs. We need one another to minister and help each other in all of the areas that pertain to life and godliness. Corporately, we are growing up in Christ, ministering to one another out of the gifts that the Holy Spirit has apportioned to each one of us. Ephesians 4:16-18 says,” Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work..”
If you are lame in an area of your walk with the Lord, then find your healing and deliverance so that your path may be made straight. If it is greater than your ability to find the victory then seek out those in the body of Christ who can come along beside you, give you help, prayer and accountability. It is the Lord’s will to restore the lame.

Blessings,
#kent

Isaiah 66:2
For all those [things] hath mine hand made, and all those [things] have been, saith the LORD: but to this [man] will I look, [even] to [him that is] poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

God Works Best in Broken Vessels

Has life, experiences and people brought you to a place of brokenness? Has all that you sought to build and do came to nothing? Have you fully come to the end of yourself and your efforts? If you have that is a good place to be. It doesn’t always feel good or appear good, but it is at the end of ourselves that we finally find God’s will and purpose. It is there that we come to the full revelation that we are nothing outside of Him who is everything. It is there that we can confront God in naked honesty and abandonment of self. It is there that we fully realize that He alone is God; He establishes and He tears down, but what ever remains has to be of Him. It is the poor, humble and contrite man that comes in total honesty and brokenness before His God. There are no pretenses, no self-righteousness and no illusions that He is anything outside of God’s will and purpose for His life.
Often the inroads to this state and place are very hard and painful. Often we come there through the loss of all that we held dear in this world. Yet, in that place there is such honesty in our brokenness. We have finally come to a place where now God can fill the emptiness with Himself. We have come through our Gethsemane place of temptation and we have experienced a Calvary through the work of the cross in our lives. We have died to self, but in that death we are now about to experience our resurrection in the greater place of His life. It is on the other side of the cross that we touch God’s glory and we find a restoration beyond that which we have experienced in the world or through any efforts of our own.
No wonder God is looking for this person of a broken, poor and contrite spirit. One who now trembles at God’s Word and lives in the awesome fear of Him. This man is now ready for God’s use and His power to be demonstrated through Him, because in this place none will receive the glory other than God who gives the increase. This person is an emptied vessel that God can fill with the richness of Himself and His Spirit.
“God, as painful as it may be, bring us to this place. This is the place of true godly men and women that are ripe for Your increase and Your outpouring. Bring us to that state of spirit because you work best in broken vessels.”

Blessings,
#kent

Prosperity

November 6, 2014

Philippians 4:10-20
I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
14Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. 17Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. 18I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
20To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Prosperity

We, in this country, we have become a prosperity oriented people. In some cases we almost equate our outward wealth with our spirituality. Is that what we glean from this passage that Paul is sharing here?
We love to quote the word that he gives to the Philippians, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus,” but what prompted that statement. It was because the Philippians were all about giving. They appear to be one of Paul’s primary supporters and as such he speaks this blessing over them. It was the giving that brought the blessing.
Now Paul is not a prosperity preacher in the since of worldly goods. The prosperity that he preaches is the riches of God’s grace and glory in Christ Jesus. He speaks to the rich things God has for us and that isn’t always gained through the riches of this world. The truth is when the soul is pampered in comfort, it often doesn’t grow much in substance. We read about Paul’s training in this principle in the first of this passage. The training we see God taking Paul through and what He wants to bring us through is that of “being content whatever the circumstances”. God’s life and purpose are not really found in the pampering of our flesh, but more in the crucifixion of it. We are actually dying to the outward man and what we perceive its needs and desires to be. Our Christianity isn’t about living out of the benefits and provisions of the outward man, it is about living out of Christ who gives us strength to endure all trials and find contentment whatever our circumstances.
I know this kind of flies in the face of the prosperity teaching many of us have sat under. Indeed God is a God of blessings and most of us can attest to the enormous blessing over our physical lives as well as our spiritual ones. The thing that we need to understand in this hour is that there are going to be tougher days ahead and it is important for us to know and realize that our life and spirituality does not rest on these outward things. There is now a depth and treasure of riches we need to search out in knowing Christ. He alone is the riches that never fail. He is still that God that will meet our need, but it may not conform to the Christian-American mindset that many of us have developed. What’s more, is that we are to learn a key principle, the key to having our needs met, is in our willingness to see and meet the needs in others. This blessing that Paul spoke over the Philippians was birthed out this key principle. Our natural inclination when things get tough is to fear and react by hoarding to ourselves. The spiritual principle is that we see and meet the needs in the body of Christ, as well as blessing those who are in the world.
If we want to really prosper in this hour, it is to be found in the depth and intimacy of your relationship with Christ. It is out of Him that you can do all things. As Paul says here in verse 13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” It is only as we lose our supply that we begin to truly experience His supply. Let’s get a revelation of what true prosperity is. It is not in the things that you possess, but in the person that you possess.

Blessings,
#kent

Self Struggle

April 7, 2014

Romans 7:24-25
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Self Struggle

From my night I look out into the light.
I am drawn by its warmth and love.
There is a love that draws me out of my night.
But then the voices rush in that changes my gears.
They remind me of past hurts, disappointments and fears.
They remind me of all that I enjoy and would need to give up.
So I am drawn back from the light and from drinking His cup.
Back into the security of my unchanging heart.
Back into my dysfunctional darkness of which I’ve so been a part.

I hear the voice speaking into my spirit,
“Would you be made whole?”
“Would you be healed?”
“Would you be delivered and set free?”
Suddenly there is such a strong sense of duality.
Two men warring within me for dominion and victory.
One struggles to keep me in the darkness and need;
Bringing before me fears of change, and shame of my past,
Condemnation of sin and a half empty glass.
And what it will cost me to make the change?
The other man stands in His peace and light of His gain,
Arms extended and the truth of His love inviting me in.
I love the warmth and the peace of His presence,
But then the darkness crowds in, causing me to withdrawal again.

Inwardly I am grieved at my fallen state.
Only fleeting joy, broken promises and empty estate.
I look back over the wastelands of my life.
All I see is heartache, brokenness and strife.
What is my purpose if this life is all there is;
If I continue to choose this self-life instead of His?
His love is faithfully pursuing my wretched soul.
What can He possibly see in this lump of coal?
This time when He invites me, I run with a new reply.
I cast my wretched self upon His grace and cry,
“Change me and fill me with yourself and your love.”
“I would be made whole.”
“I would be healed.”
“I would be delivered and set free.”
Please Lord, take and fill all of me.

The magnitude of His love and peace floods my heart.
I sense His blood cleansing every filthy part.
Hope and joy are now abounding through my soul.
I finally relinquished my will and gave Him full control.
A new day has dawned in this heart and soul of mine.
Transforming power and new direction do I find.
“What a wretched man I am!
Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Blessings,
#kent

Kingdom Inheritors

April 1, 2014

1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Kingdom Inheritors

Romans 14:17-18 says, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.” We are not inheriting a kingdom of flesh, but of Spirit. God is making real to us who we are in Christ, that we are a spiritual and kingdom people being fashioned and transformed into His image and likeness. It is just as important to know who we are not in Christ. We are not what we used to be. We are not what we came out of. Those things have passed away and we are a new creature and creation in Christ Jesus. God makes it clear that His kingdom is not made up of the thinking, ideology and behavior of this world. Anyone that is still living and abiding in that paradigm in their thinking and living is not going to fit into the kingdom of God. If we want God’s kingdom there is only one way and that by being ‘washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God’. The blood of Jesus is the only thing that has the power to transform our lives from the world that is lost outside of Christ to those are in Christ and become partakers of kingdom thinking, living and being.
The Corinthians in this text were having a hard time transitioning their thinking and being to kingdom principles and kingdom ways. The apostle Paul is telling them here that the former ways have no place in the kingdom. They are enmity to it. We live by a different standard and if we are not seeing the effectiveness and power of that kingdom, it may well be that things are not lining up in our thinking and living with kingdom principles and ways.
We have a righteous King of glory, Jesus Christ the Righteous, who is establishing His kingdom within the hearts and the lives of His people. If we consider ourselves His people then we need to find that place of complete submission to His Lordship. Most all of us would agree that we want to go to heaven when we die, but how many of us are willing to go there while we live? Ponder that question for a moment.
You see living heaven on earth is a place we find first in our spirits. Outwardly we still live in this world and as such we are faced with all of it trials and difficulties, as well as its pleasures, temptations and sins. Heaven comes to earth when we are living and walking out the life of Christ and the principles of the kingdom in our earthly life and vessel. We are the manifestation and expression of His kingdom in the earth. When we mix the two realms of flesh and Spirit we get a muddy mess. It is this muddy mess that defiles and taints the name of Jesus in the earth. The world sees in us a people that proclaims and preaches one thing, but then tries to live it out with natural thinking and human ways. No wonder they are put off by our hypocrisy. God gives us some grace here. We are growing and we are not fully matured yet, but it is important that our heart is after the kingdom of God and not the kingdoms of this world. Already we see them passing away and more than ever we are impressed with the truth that we must lay hold of His kingdom in mind, word and deed. Judgement is swiftly coming for the wicked, but our lives must stand as a testimony against all wickedness and perversity of men through the demonstration of righteous living and through the power of our love in Christ. We stand as a testimony to God’s alternative to judgement. We stand and walk with the light of hope and salvation for all that would believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and turn from their wicked ways. Heaven is here, but it needs you as a vessel to reveal it and unveil it. The kingdom of God has come, is come and is coming, but we are the revelation of its presence and reality in this world. How will they know the King unless they see the reality of His kingdom in you and I? We are where the rubber meets the road and where spiritual principles become practical reality in our daily living and actions. If the wicked would see Jesus, they must see Him through us, not through our condemnation, but through our love and righteousness.
A kingdom principle is, that our gain is often in our loss, and our life is found in our death. Paul reveals it this way in Philippians 3: 7-11, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” This is a kingdom mentality and thinking. It is how we transition into the kingdom of God. We become the less that He might become the more, till He becomes our all in all.

Blessings,
#kent

The Treachery of Riches

October 9, 2013

The Treachery of Riches

Psalms 49:4-20
I will turn my ear to a proverb; with the harp I will expound my riddle: 5 Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me- 6 those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches? 7 No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him- 8 the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough- 9 that he should live on forever and not see decay. 10 For all can see that wise men die; the foolish and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others. 11 Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves. 12 But man, despite his riches, does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish. 13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. Selah 14 Like sheep they are destined for the grave, and death will feed on them. The upright will rule over them in the morning; their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions. 15 But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself. Selah 16 Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; 17 for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him. 18 Though while he lived he counted himself blessed— and men praise you when you prosper- 19 he will join the generation of his fathers, who will never see the light of life. 20 A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish.

In the natural world it is the rich and powerful who think they have arrived and are in control of life. That is the goal of many, to have riches, fame and power. We are under the delusion that if we have these in abundance then our kingdom and our goals of success are secure. We think that when we pass on, our riches, our kingdom and our accomplishments will be carried on in our descendants.
What amount of money can redeem life, purchase forgiveness or deliver us from death, hell and the grave? What power among men, commands and rules over death? Even, as the beasts of the field perish, so we also have a limited number of days before our bodies will see corruption. When the rich, powerful and worldly successful men are in the grave, what then can their riches, their princely mansions and the power they wielded on earth do for them? As the word of Job 1:21 says, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. “ What then did the pursuit of riches and power gain the rich man when he goes to join the generation of his fathers who will never see the light of day? It as the Psalmist concludes, “A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish.”
Is it wrong to possess riches or power? No, not if your trust, your love and affections aren’t given over to them. Those things have no power or life in regards to our eternity. It is shortsightedness on our part if our life is dedicated to the pursuit of things that will so soon pass away from us. It begins to make sense what Jesus said in Luke 12:33-34, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Our eternal riches aren’t found in our bank account, our investment portfolio, our houses, lands or inheritances. They are only obtained through giving, not getting. Eternal riches are a paradox to the world. It is not till we pour out and give our life, first to the Lord and then to others, that we truly begin to become rich. The richest people in heaven won’t be those who had all of the wealth and power in the earth. The elite of heaven will be comprised of those who walked in the footsteps of the Master, who poured out their lives for others and who became poor that they might make others rich in Christ.
Many of us think in terms that if only we could win the lottery, look at the good we could do. We forget that we are already rich in the things that matter most. Most of the time and for most of us, earthly riches would only detour us from the eternal riches we already possess in Christ Jesus. The sacrifice of His life and the cross was the only thing worthy enough, powerful enough and rich enough to purchase us from eternal corruption, hell and death. We are a very rich people who possess the Lord. Take your eyes off of the outward and begin to tap into the riches you possess in Christ in order to give and bless others. Then you will possess the riches and the rewards of heaven that will greet you at death’s door rather than those riches that flee away from you. Many of us are rich beyond measure and don’t even realize it. I read a quote the other day that said, “the poorest man in the world is the man that only has money.” Hebrews 11:24-26 says that Moses saw this truth when, “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”
The apostle Paul also prayed that we would get a revelation of our true riches in Ephesians 1:18-23. “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”
The bottom line is that we don’t want to make the mistake of putting our trust in the treachery of the world’s riches, for the love of these things will result in our greatest poverty, life without Christ. Comprehend what the true riches are and that you already possess them in Christ. Now, let us go and invest them in His Kingdom that does not wax old or pass away and there they are laid up for us as an eternal weight of glory. The richest of all men are those who realize who they are in Christ.

Blessings,
kent

Rags to Riches

September 2, 2013

Rags to Riches

Colossians 1:27
To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

As kids we often would muse, “if you had three wishes, what would you wish for?” As adults today, if we had one wish, what would we wish for? Would it be fame or fortune, health or peace, beauty or strength? I would say the majority of us, while having our needs met, wouldn’t consider ourselves rich or beautiful or famous or wise. If we stopped to really evaluate the ways in which we are rich or we are poor, what would we conclude? Many of us would smile and say; I’m rich with family, or in relationships I have with others. We might be rich in the joy and satisfaction we receive from serving and blessing others and making a difference in their lives. We have often gotten into the mindset that riches means having millions of dollars, but is a millionaire always rich?
Proverbs 13:7 says, “One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.” In order to be rich, must one always have the tangible substance of material things in their possession?
When we discovered Christ, the Son of God that has freely provided so great a salvation, we discovered a vein of the most precious substance known to man. It runs so deep and so wide and it runs from the earth beneath to the heavens above. So many of us still haven’t really grasped how rich we have become in having Christ. Our concept of riches it still focused on outward possessions. It is fine if you have outward possessions and wealth, but if that is all your heart is content with then you are indeed most poor. There is no greater poverty than the leanness and depravity of one’s soul. In Matthew 16:26 Jesus poses the question, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” When we found that relationship with Jesus Christ, we went from rags to riches, rather anything changed outwardly or not. What is the price for eternal life in the riches of heaven with our almighty loving heavenly Father? What is the price for having all of my sins and faults and failures forgiven and my debts cancelled? What would it cost to have the Christ, the Spirit of the living God, dwelling in me? Does anyone possess that kind of earthly wealth that they could purchase these priceless gifts? Yet Christ died to pay the price that He might freely give them to all that would believe. You and I are so rich beyond measure and yet we are so often focused on what we don’t have. If we truly tapped into what we do have we would realize that there are no limitation on what it is possible for us to have or to do? While we are very, very rich through Christ, we have limited understanding and wisdom in how to use the wealth we possess in the fullness of how God has intended, so we are in school. The school of life is teaching us to practice the principles of the Kingdom that is ours. In order for us to come into the fullness of our inheritance we must learn the ways of kingship and godly rule. In order for us to rule like the King, we must come into the nature of the King. How did our King demonstrate His kingdom to us? Philippians 2:5-8 tells us, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
We have gone from rags to riches when we fully comprehend that this Christ is in us. He became poor, of no reputation and endured the death of the cross so that you and I might possess so great a riches. Will we miss the greater by always focusing on the lesser? We spend the majority of our lives and resources pursuing that which is perishing while we neglect that which is eternal and priceless. We are the sons and daughters of Most High God; let us begin to dress ourselves in the rich garments of His righteousness. The world may despise us, but they don’t possess what we possess. We, like our example before us, must become void of self, so that we can bring others up. We want all of those around us to experience this “rags to riches” story. We want them to come out of the poverty and emptiness of their soul into the riches of God’s love and grace. There are not any greater riches in all of earth or heaven than “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Blessings,
kent

Life and Godliness

June 3, 2013

1 Timothy 6:6-12
But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
11But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Life and Godliness

This scripture kind of flies in the face of all that we are taught in our present day society. It teaches us that it is all about education, working your way up, success and getting ahead. All of these can be good in the right balance, but in all of our pursuit of life’s “success” we often miss the most important and needful things, life and godliness. It takes a paradigm shift in our natural thinking to not be so earthly minded and material oriented that we rob our soul to satisfy our flesh. How many upon finally reaching their goals of success, wealth, fame and riches find that happiness, satisfaction, contentment and peace are not in the pot of gold they thought to find at the end of their rainbow?
We all need to work and support ourselves and families. That is a godly principle. In the process of that we often find ourselves getting out of balance, because the world and work place begins to demand more and more from us at the expense of robbing God, our family and even our own souls.
Many times this may be because we are trying to find our identity in our career rather than our relationship with Christ. What we are and how we are seen in world’s eyes supercedes who we are and our life’s purpose in Christ. Many of us have fallen in this snare and may be there right now.
This is not to condemn, but cause us to take an honest look at our true motives, affections and life’s pursuits. If we are not first and foremost focused on our identity in Christ and how He wants to live through us day by day, then we are missing our calling. We all have to be so careful that we don’t get caught up in the materialism of the world and society we live in, that we miss our higher and foremost calling. “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
If our basic needs are met, then let us pursue what God apprehended foremost for, Himself. Our primary function is the expression of His nature in and through our lives which grows out of an ever increasing relationship and intimacy with Him. The enemy will bring every distraction and temptation to rob us of that identity and purpose we all have in Christ Jesus.
Let us check our priorities today. Are we aligning our lives with this scripture? If not, what steps do we need to take to bring our lives back on course with our true identity and purpose?

Blessings,
kent

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